Super Puma Ban Extended To Search And Rescue

Published at 08:14AM - 02/06/16

Norway has extended the ban on commercial Super Puma flights to include the nation’s search and rescue fleet, following the fatal helicopter crash on the 29th April.

The crash killed all thirteen onboard, eleven offshore workers and two crew, whilst returning from Statoil Gullfaks B platform.

The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority (CAAN) said: ‘CAA has with effect from 1 June 2016 extended the flight ban for helicopter types EC225LP and AS332L2’.

Super Puma Ban Extended To Search And Rescue

CANN continued: ‘This means that neither will be flown search and rescue missions (SAR) with the two helicopter types’.

Prior to June 1, the ban extended only to commercial flights, and not to search and rescue operations.

Since the crash, both UK and Norwegian authorities have worked closely together on the investigation, and have imposed all actions and bans jointly.

Offshore Helicopter Search And Rescue Bristow Super Puma
Offshore Helicopter SAR Super Puma

According to CAAN, the UK Civil Aviation Authority is yet to decide on whether it should follow suit with the latest extension due to a public holiday at the beginning of the week.

Crash Investigation

The full investigation is into the helicopter crash is ongoing, and is being jointly undertaken by Norwegian and UK Air Crash Investigation Branches.

The authorities have outlined a list of possible causes as part of the investigation, stemming from video evidence showing the helicopters main rotor assembly detaching mid air.

The list includes the main rotor suspension bar used to secure the main rotor assembly, and the Super Puma’s gearbox, which has lead to a string of incidents in recent years.

Earlier this week, the helicopters manufacturers, Airbus, rubbished the investigation’s focus, saying that the suspension bar was the only probable cause of the crash, snubbing the gearbox as an issue.